A Commissioner’s Reflections on the 42nd General Council

September 4, 2015 – Keith Simmonds

When I review my daily journal entries from GC42 (found at, our time together seems to fall into four main areas: Worship; Structure; Mission; and Vision. We worshipped together, made recommendations for restructuring, called out the prophetic ministries of our times and grappled with our vision of God and kin-dom. We chose a moderator uniquely qualified to lead us and speak of us, in church and world.

We were inspired, informed and enlightened by prophetic voices, in worship, in the visions upheld by those who came to speak with us, in those who stood for moderator, and in the sharing of our efforts as a church over the three years past.

We tackled structural change, trying to ensure freedom and support for Faith Communities, while offering enough guidance to ensure good and capable health. We struggled with the meaning of “Minister”, and what suitable training for ministry would be. Knowing we could never complete the work, we trusted it would be supported, added to and modified, as it has always been.

We wrestled with climate change and changed investment policies. We delved into Israel and Palestine once again, remaining determined to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. We were surprised into understandings of our own land occupations, and authorized a call to determine what we might do about them. We resolved to live out the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we will walk with our sisters in the spirit, honouring their memory and insisting on an inquiry.

We spoke of our theologies, our guiding vision and the need to refine it, our past transgressions and the need to realize them, and our current misunderstandings and the need to clarify them.

We learned to ask: ‘ow’s she cuttin’? And to respond: Best kind b’y, best kind.

Read more reflections from Keith regarding the 42nd General Council at